Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Traveller Jack and Toolkit

The toolkit from the early Traveller parts manual (AKD3411)
Like a lot of small bits and pieces, the jack and tool kit is missing from my Traveller. It would be nice to be able to replace it with a reasonable facsimile of the original kit. According to my early Traveller parts manual, the standard tool kit supplied with the vehicle is pretty basic. A jack and jack handle, a cranked wheel nut brace which also doubles as a tool to damage the hubcap, a spark plug tube spanner with its tommy bar and a levelling bracket that fitted on top of the jack when jacking the front of the car. A bag (for the smaller parts) was also supplied.
The smaller tools should be pretty easy to replace, the dodgy wheel brace was used on Mini sedans, and the tube spanner and tommy bar will be common to many BMC cars of the period. Replica bags are available from places like Newton Commercial and some other specialists. Which just leaves the jack as the most difficult item to source.

The jack of an Austin Seven Countryman. I think this is in Richard Mortlock's
car, which is a week older than mine. (photo: Bill Bell) 
The tricky part is working out which jack is correct. The parts manual can't be relied on - often they would borrow illustrations they already had from other manuals - or just use a generic drawing of the object. In this case it does look like it should be a screw type jack, and with the help of the British Car Jack Database it looks like the Shelley LJ225 which was supplied with some Austin Healeys. Bill Bell from the 1959 Mini Register supplied me with this picture. It shows the jack in the rear of an early Countryman (so an Austin, not a Morris like mine). Again with the help of the British Car Jack Database, this appears to be a different version of the Shelley LJ225 - for Minis so it looks like it is correct, and probably should be the one I'm looking for. These jacks were never supplied with Australian Minis, so I'll have to get one from the UK.

A metallifacture jack in an April 1961 Morris Mini Traveller
(Photo: Sussex Sports Cars)
Just to throw a spanner in the works, I came across this picture. It is 'borrowed' from the website of Sussex Sports Cars where this 1961 Morris Mini Traveller is for sale. It shows a completely different style of jack made by Metallifacture in the UK.This is the type of jack that we refer to as a Mini van jack, in Australia, but I have seen them listed as Mini Estate jacks on ebay in the UK.  The British car Jack database also lists Metallifacture jacks for Minis, and suggests that they were supplied from 1962-1968 - however it doesn't claim to be encyclopaedic. This Traveller is approximately three months younger than mine.

So the question is, which jack is correct? Either or both cars could have lost their original jack during the past 52 years. Maybe both jacks were supplied with 1961 Travellers - which would be nice, because I already have a Metallifacture jack that I managed to source a few years ago.

Just a final note. BMC offered tool kits as an extra accessory. These were much more comprehensive and contained a range of additional tools including spanners, pliers and screwdrivers. Luckily there is also a small number of unique individuals who spend their time tracking down the minutiae of BMC tool kits, so I hope to be able to source the bits to put together the extra items needed for one of them too.

Friday, June 28, 2013

Press Photos (1)

I have a small collection of original BMC press photos, from the heyday of the Traveller and Countryman. These photos were produced by BMC and were sent out to the press to be used to illustrate press releases and articles. Sometimes they have the typed press release on the back of the photo.  Some just show a plain photo of the vehicle, and I suspect these were often a bit of a rush job to get a picture out there, whereas others are more artfully composed and often show the vehicles in an interesting setting and accompanied by glamorous models. Most of the photos are in black and white but sometimes they are in colour.

At present the I only have two prints of early internal tanked cars. There are others available but I haven't found any that are reasonably priced. This picture shows an early Austin Se7en Countryman. You can tell from the picture that it is a light colour and its not white, so it must be speedwell blue. Actually I know it is because this is one of a sequence of pictures taken at the same time, some of the others show a young family in and around the car and at least one of them is in colour.

The picture below is nice ans shows a tartan red Countryman being loaded by young woman while her husband, helpfully watches on. Of interest are the bags that are being loaded. They look like they could be the bags offered as accessories by BMC in the early sixties. The basket in particular looks like the style that were designed to fit into the side storage bins in the back seat. Identical repro baskets are available from the 1959 Mini register.

Although its not possible to clearly read the registration number of each car, they both seem to have the UK 3 letter and 3 number type which were used up until August 1962. Both cars are internal tanked, built earlier than October 1961, so the pictures must date from around 1960 or '61.